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Sending the message that culture stands firm against the crisis, the 12th Thessaloniki International Book Fair (TIBF) is opening its gates at Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre (Pavilions 13 and 15) from 7 to 10 May.

The four-day celebration of culture is boasting improved qualitative and quantitative features this year, hosting approximately 400 exhibitors and 21 countries, providing a forum for 300 Greek and international authors and including 280 events.

From left to right, the CEO of TIF- HELEXPO, Mr. Kiriakos Pozrikidis, the Deputy Minister of Interior & Administrative Reconstruction (Macedonia & Thrace), Mrs. Maria Kollia- Tsaroucha, the President of TIF- HELEXPO, Mr. Tasos Tzikas, the President of Hellenic Foundation of Culture, Mr. Christodoulos  Giallouridis and the Major of Thessaloniki, Mr. Giannis Boutaris

As announced during today's Press Conference, this year's programme is structured along four main thematic sections: the tribute to Ibero-American literature titled 'Voices from Afar', the 2nd Young Writers' Festival, the 'Books & Arts' section and the 'Children's and Adolescents' Corner', featuring dozens of parallel events. The 12th TIBF is being organised by the Hellenic  Foundation for Culture in cooperation with TIF-Helexpo, the City of Thessaloniki and Greek publishers, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs.

The Deputy Minister of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction (Macedonia-Thrace), Mrs Maria Kollia-Tsaroucha, characterised Thessaloniki as a capital of arts and letters, noting that Greece has always been a crossroads of civilisations and continues to produce culture even today. "Books are the most important vehicle of culture", she noted, expressing the government's support for the Fair.

The President of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Tassos Tzikas, underlined the improved figures of this year's event, noting how they prove that the Fair must continue on its dynamic course and remain a major cultural celebration for Thessaloniki. "The city must support the Fair and the goal is its further internationalisation", he stressed.

According to the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr Yiannis Boutaris, "the message that the 12th Thessaloniki International Book Fair must express is that Greece is not just antiquity and Byzantium, but remains a centre of culture in the modern world". In fact, the Mayor announced that the City of Thessaloniki will earmark funds for next year's event in its budget.

The President of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, Mr Christodoulos Yiallouridis, stressed the importance of Thessaloniki International Book Fair as an expression of culture, particularly during these difficult economic circumstances. "Culture is our form of resistance against the crisis. It is our weapon. We stand strong and believe in the future", he noted. In fact, underlining the international appeal of the Fair, he announced that Russia, participating with a national delegation for the first time, has expressed an interest in becoming the country of honour at a subsequent Fair.

Representing Greek publishers, Mr Nikos Karatzas expressed the fervent support of the Greek publishing sector for Thessaloniki International Book Fair, while stressing that the crisis has affected the book market and estimating that the rate of publication of new titles for 2015 will be significantly reduced.

"Our youth must fall in love with the Fair", noted that Managing Director of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Kyriakos Pozrikidis, underlining that the event must offer free admission so that everyone can become acquainted with books.

The opening ceremony of the 12th TIBF will be held at Pavilion 15 on Thursday, 7 May, at 19.30.

For more detailed information on the full programme of the 12th TIBF, visit the website